APG Members Discount on all past recorded courses

Are you a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists?

If so, then by now you are probably aware of the Continuing Professional Education requirement that went into effect at the beginning of this year. You may not know that all three founders and the current co-owners have all served on the APG Board of Directors over the years. We have long been committed to serving our professional community and that commitment continues.

Virtual Institute courses are a great way to meet the 12-hour CPE requirement. With each course providing 6 hours of education, our collection of past courses and schedule of upcoming courses will easily allow you to continue to develop your trade.

The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research now offers an APG members-only 10% discount on all course recording packages. For more details on how to claim this discount, just log into your APG Members account, click on “Membership Discount Program,” and then go to the page for the Virtual Institute. There you will find a coupon code that can be used on all recording packages. Just enter the coupon code when you check out and the discount will be applied to all recording packages—no time limits or purchase limits!

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research Launches Occasional Webinar Series

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research Announces Occasional Webinar Series


RALEIGH, North Carolina, 27 September 2017. The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research is pleased to announce the commencement of its new Occasional Webinar Series. The Series will supplement the Institute’s standard six-hour courses and bring further diversity to its educational offerings.

In its short three-year history, the Virtual Institute has hosted 30 individual six-hour courses from 19 different instructors. Through the Occasional Webinar Series, the Virtual Institute will periodically invite speakers to present shorter one-hour webinars featuring unique content. The Series will support the Virtual Institute’s mission to provide high-quality, low-cost genealogical and historical education on a wide variety of topics from leading subject-matter experts.

Live attendance in future webinars requires prior registration. The cost for registration is $9.99 which includes the syllabus material and a video recording of the lecture. Attendance is limited to 100 students. After the live session, recording packages with the syllabus will be available for purchase and immediate download at a cost of $19.99.

“Some topics are so specialized that a six-hour course may not be the most appropriate format,” co-founder Michael Hait, CG, CGL, stated. “The Occasional Webinar Series will allow instructors to explore some of these other topics without the need to fit them into the standard course format. Conversely, the one-hour webinar format requires less of a time commitment from our dedicated students while still providing them with access to a unique educational opportunity.”

Four webinars will be presented over the coming months:

  • Melanie D. Holtz, CG, “The Proietti: Researching an Abandoned Child in Italy,” Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 8:00pm (EDT)
  • Bryna O’Sullivan, “Luxembourg Genealogy: The Basics,” Friday, 1 December 2017, 8:00pm (EST)
  • Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., “How Are We Related? Using the Shared cM Project to Explore Your DNA Matches,” Wednesday, 17 January 2018, 8:00pm (EST)
  • LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, “Researching Enslaved Ancestors in South Carolina,” Wednesday, 14 March 2018, 8:00pm (EDT)

Additional lectures in the Webinar Series continue to be negotiated and will be announced through the Virtual Institute News mailing list.

For more information on the Occasional Webinar Series visit http://vigrgenealogy.com/live-webinars.


About the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research

The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research offers year-round online education on a wide variety of genealogical subjects. Each course consists of six hours of live instruction, extensive syllabus material, and practical exercises. Limited class sizes and a Plus course option allow for a higher level of class participation and instructor feedback than typically offered remotely. For more information visit www.vigrgenealogy.com or email vigrgenealogy@gmail.com.

Course recordings now available on cemeteries and lecturing

Three courses have been recently added to the Virtual Institute Store:

LaDonna Garner, M.A., R.V.T., “Where Thou May Rest: Researching Cemeteries for Genealogy, Part I

LaDonna Garner, M.A., R.V.T., “Where Thou May Rest: Researching Cemeteries for Genealogy, Part II

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, “The Fine Points of Making Your Point: Honing Your Lecturing Skills

All of our past courses can be purchased in the Virtual Institute Store for $69.99. The recording packages include all four 90-minute sessions, as well as all of the syllabus material and practical assignments.

Take time to visit our Store—and while you’re there, take a look at all of the past courses we have available!

Last chance to register for Elissa Scalise Powell’s “The Fine Points of Making Your Point”

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, is a familiar face in front of genealogy audiences around the country. For years, she has lectured for local and state genealogical societies, at regional conferences around the country, at national conferences for the National Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and at week-long institutes where she has coordinated courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She is also co-owner and administrator of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh and, of course, has presented two courses for the Virtual Institute (Professional Genealogy I and Professional Genealogy II).

With all of this experience under her belt, Elissa has converted her skills into attaining and maintaining the Certified Genealogical Lecturer credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Now she wants to share her breadth of knowledge with Virtual Institute students. Topics discussed include evaluating your readiness, developing topics, creating PowerPoint slides and handouts, marketing your lectures and courses, and doing webinars.

“The Fine Points of Making Your Point: Honing Your Lecturing Skills” will begin this Saturday, September 9, 2017. Registration will remain open until Friday, September 8.

For full details and to register, visit this page.


Register now for Garner’s Cemetery Research I & II

In just two weeks, LaDonna Garner, M.A., R.V.T., will present the first part of her two-part course “Where Thou May Rest: Researching Cemeteries for Genealogy.”

Cemeteries—the resting places of many of our ancestors—hold a special place in the hearts of many genealogists. LaDonna Garner has a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation with a focus on forgotten communities and cemetery preservation. With this unique perspective, she will offer insight into the evolution of burial traditions, gravestones, and cemeteries, allowing genealogists to glean as much information as possible from these special places.

Part I runs 17 June–24 June 2017. For more details and to register, click here.

Part II will continue with more advanced information, running 8 July–15 July 2017. For more details and to register, click here.

Bettinger’s “Visual Phasing” recording now available!

The recording package is now available for “Visual Phasing: Mapping DNA to Your Grandparents” with Blaine Bettinger. If you weren’t able to attend the course live, you can purchase all four 90-minute lectures (six total hours!) and all syllabus material for just $69.99.

Visit the Virtual Institute Store to purchase this and our other courses.

Visual Phasing is one of the hottest new tools in genealogy. It allows you to map the DNA of two or more siblings to the four grandparents, WITHOUT having tested either the parents or grandparents. As we’ll see, with enough siblings, it allows you to recreate almost the entire genomes of your four grandparents. You’ll also be able to quickly determine which of the four grandparents’ lines each of your matches share!

Understanding the people leads to connection to—and enthusiasm for—Family History

Guest post by Jean Wilcox Hibben, M.A., Ph.D

For the past year, Gena Philibert-Ortega and I have been providing information on the social history that should accompany any research of one’s people. These can be accessed from http://genaandjean.blogspot.com. It is not enough to know the names, dates, and places; understanding why those place and those dates were of importance, and maybe even why those names were selected, can provide clues to genealogical research.

An example of this is what is called a “naming day.” When most genealogists look for their family members, they hope to find a birth certificate (though, in some cases, it is listing nothing more than “baby girl Smith” or “unnamed boy Jones” and the only clarification that the child is the “right” one is the listing of the parents and the birth date and place). A secondary option, though still usually considered a primary source, is a baptismal certificate. When a child is baptized, his or her name is entered into the officiator’s book and/or on a certificate that may or may not be filed with the church in question. Now the child’s name is known and it is expected that this baby will retain that name throughout his/her life (though, if a girl, may likely add a married surname). We all know that doesn’t happen, of course. People who don’t like their names might have them legally changed (as we see in the entertainment field) or a person might adopt a nickname to use even on legal documents. (A friend of mine always referred to her mother-in-law as “Betty,” yet on the census and other records, including her tombstone, her name is “Minnie.” When I asked for clarification I learned she was christened Minnie Myrtus Morgan and hated the name so had everyone call her Betty.)

But in some cultures, there is another day of celebration and it can happen nearly any time after the child’s birth: the naming day. Here is when the official name by which the person will be called is determined and set. The problem: it is not a civil ceremony that would garner a document filed in a court or government office and it is not a religious ceremony that would be recorded in a church record. But this name is the one the child will most likely use throughout life and that can create a major confusion. In an entire family in my line, the names with which the children were christened are different (in some cases, entirely different, except for the surname) from those given in the church baptismal ceremony and related record. Were it not for a series of letters from the family members and the repeated reference to one person’s “naming day” anniversary (some celebrate that anniversary instead of birthdays), I would still be in a quandary about this strange anomaly in my family.

Understanding the traditions and culture of a person’s roots may lead to previously unknown records. For more discussion on the importance of culture and folkways in one’s genealogy, the course “Learning About Your Ancestor Through Culture and Folkways,” goes into much more detail of how to use this tool and where to find information.